Carter Ratcliff

  • Mario Yrisarry

    Mario Yrisarry included examples of all his recent manners—or techniques—in his latest show at O.K. Harris. Each painting is square and divided into a grid. The variety is in the ways he fills the grid with color. There are paintings whose grid squares are filled with solid color, sometimes as smoothsurfaced as he can make it, sometimes intentionally but still faintly nuanced. In other paintings, the squares are filled with a looping or a zigzag line. In others, the grid is established by spiraling lines which cross at right angles as they move from one edge of the canvas to the other. Most of

  • Gabriel Laderman

    Gabriel Laderman’s recent exhibit at Schoelkopf consisted of portraits, double portraits, landscapes, portraits in landscape, and still lifes—all the genres whose validity this embattled Realist feels he must establish. It would be convenient but quite distorting to look at Laderman’s work apart from his extensive commentary on Realism. Laderman the writer is hard to place. He is somewhere between critic, historian, esthetician, and polemicist, adopting each role as it appears useful. He is an interesting writer because he has reintroduced an important topic into recent discussion: the modernist

  • Amsterdam-Paris-Dusseldorf

    Amsterdam-Paris-Dusseldorf at the Guggenheim Museum is not one exhibit but three, selected independently by Fritz Keers of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Blaise Gautier, director of the Centre National d’Art Contemporain in Paris, and Jürgen Harten, director of the Stadtische Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf. Subsequent to its choice of the three cities, the Guggenheim functioned with almost complete neutrality. The imposition of American tastes and presuppositions has been avoided which is admirable even when it results in the presentation of esthetic and cultural enigmas outside the contexts that

  • Floyd Johnson

    Floyd Johnson is showing in New York for the first time since his exhibits of 1950–52 at the Downtown Gallery. His large, unstretched, bannerlike canvases are stained in luscious, high-keyed purples, reds, and earth colors. Swirling, organic spills of paint surround and overlap geometric patternings—discs arranged in large circles or in the manner of shingles or scales. The geometry points more to Tantric art than to Constructivism, and indeed Johnson has claimed for his works the function of meditational objects. This claim has been accepted uncritically in the comments that his show has so

  • Keith Hollingworth

    Keith Hollingworth has chosen to make private meanings the obvious content of his work. This connects him with Surrealism, but only fleetingly. His art is not intended to educate the viewer in preparation for a future which will reveal deep meaning, as with the traditional Surrealist program. On the contrary, his work is designed to subsist undeciphered in a world that denies change and, by implication, the work itself. Thus one sees echoes of Cornell’s hermeticism, Magritte’s codes, and Duchamp’s “machinery” in Hollingworth, but these echoes have no explanatory value. By employing feathers,

  • Duane Michals

    Duane Michals’ photographs demythologize on a double front. First, with their ghostly presences, they undercut the medium’s claim to an objective recording of an external appearance. Next, by making the technical origin of those presences so clear (double exposure, camera motion, superimposition of negatives) they call into question the traditional notions of appearance in the spirit world: surely, he implies, if ghosts are just blurry humans then ghosts as we conceive of them can finally be said not to exist. His conclusions in both cases may not be final, but they do leave his images suspended

  • Mark di Suvero

    If, on the other hand, I have understood that truth and value can be for us nothing but the result of the verifications and evaluations which we make in contact with the world, before other people and in given situations of knowledge and action, and that even these notions lose all meaning outside of human perspectives, then the world recovers its texture; the particular acts of verification and evaluation through which I grasp a dispersed experience resume their decisive importance; and knowledge and action, true and false, good and evil have something unquestionable about them precisely because

  • Adversary Spaces

    ORGANIZED BY A COMPREHENSIVE SCHEME, Documenta 5 is an attempt to find a way through the maze of contemporary Western art. Yet, with its hugeness and complexity, it is like a maze itself. Going from gallery to gallery, and back and forth between the two large buildings which house the exhibition, the viewer must learn to distinguish tentative clarities from obscurities arising out of the difficulty of imposing order on so many artworks.

    If one gets through the organizational maze, the strictly defined categories of high art, the “parallel worlds” drawn from popular culture, the endlessly overlapping

  • Jo Baer: Notes on 5 Recent Paintings

    JO BAER’S LATEST WORK consists of two vertical and three horizontal paintings. The horizontal measure 22’ x 69”, the vertical 80” x 22”. All are mounted on 4” stretcher bars. The wide stretchers advance the front surfaces into the gallery space—these works seem bodied forth. But they are neither gestural nor corporeal. They show the corners of the room inversed, and they cast shadows which connect significantly to their painted forms. But they are not architectural.

    These paintings acknowledge three-dimension al space, which they both enclose and inhabit. They do this by requiring the viewer to

  • The Whitney Annual, Part II

    THE ENTHUSIASM WITH WHICH New York museums supported contemporary art during the ’60s met with a certain amount of resentment. This was vaguely expressed in Gene Baro’s review of the Museum of Modern Art’s “Americans 1963.” He complained of the “mystification or obscurantism” of curators and other “experts” bent on imposing their “backroom knowledge.”1 By 1969 it was possible for “Henry’s Show” at the Metropolitan (“New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940-1970”) to inspire a small, but quite specifically directed, literature of resentment.2 The emotion is transformed in Robert PincusWitten’s review

  • The Whitney Annual, Part I

    THE ELEVATOR DOORS SLIDE OPEN. It’s not really like a curtain going up, but it does provide the only well-thought-out moment of curatorial theater in the entire show: the first glimpse of a four-paneled “work” in which Cy Twombly, Larry Poons, Virginia Jaramillo, and Nancy Graves are jumbled together to strike this year’s keynote—which they do, more or less. Twombly reaches back to the ’50s, coming to rest (for curatorial purposes) somewhere near the end of the ’60s. He’s the “old” old-timer, Poons the “young” one who pushes the ’60s up to the present. Graves, the aging rookie, is there to imply